Posts Tagged ‘animal rescue’


doggie cupcake from Oliver’s Collar

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I adopted Meghan the Wonderdog!

A lot has happened in this year:  Meghan has made some new friends (including Bou, Darcy, Elvis, and Jake);  she’s learned to walk fairly nicely on a leash;  she saw her first snow; and she’s finally learned to “shake.”

Unfortunately, all has not been perfect in Meghan’s world.  Most recently,  she tore her joint capsule in her left knee, and had to have surgery a few weeks ago.   Because of her medical condition, which mostly means no running and playing for six weeks, I had to cancel the planned adoption day party with her doggie friends listed above.

Instead, Meghan’s adoption day was rather quiet.  Of course I told her how happy I was to have her and gave her a new Kong.  I also presented her with a delicious cupcake from Oliver’s Collar.

Here’s a few photos of the event.  Please note that the cupcake contained only ingredients safe for pups — definitely no chocolate!


What is that?




A treat? For me? Really?



Such concentration!


Just let me have it already!


Note that the picture of her devouring the cupcake doesn’t exist.  You’ll just have to take my word that she grabbed it in her mouth, ran into the dining room and devoured it in two bites.



Now time for a well-deserved post-treat nap.


Just a little P.S.: when I adopted Meghan last year, I was injured and had difficulty walking.  This year, she was injured.  So I look forward to next year’s adoption day, when both of us will be able to romp around painlessly!


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Meghan the wonderdog finally found her forever home … and yep, you guessed it: with me!

A Plott hound/Pit mix, Meghan was brought to the animal shelter where I volunteer in December. She went to foster care in March, and I adopted her on June 25.

Since she’s about 10 months old, Meghan still has lots of puppy energy and enthusiasm. Luckily, she’s smart and very food motivated, so she’s learning commands quickly.

And I’m learning what toys will work for her. Note to self: just because the toy is labeled “hard plastic” doesn’t mean Meghan won’t tear it to shreds.

So far, Meghan has been content to run and play in my fenced yard. I’m crossing my fingers she doesn’t turn into an escape artist.

We also go on short leash walks, which will get longer once my foot injury heals.

Then, Meghan entertains herself (and me) by throwing her toys in the air and chasing them.

Then, after a few hours of playing outside and in, Meghan settles down for a nice, long nap.


As you can see, Meghan has settled in nicely!

In a few months, I’m hoping to foster a shelter dog. I’d like to give Meghan a friend with whom to play, but mostly, I’d like to help another dog like Meghan, who just needs some extra time and attention in order to find his/her forever home.

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I recently turned 50 years old and one of my goals was to have 50 new experiences.    First on this list was Meghan’s Big Day Out.

Meghan, pictured above, is a 6-month old Plott hound/Pitt mix currently living at the local shelter.  She’s been at the shelter since early December and is one of the shelter’s longest dog residents.   She’s got quite a lot of puppy energy, and is also quite anxious.  But she’s a total sweetie once she’s calmed down, and I’ve taken her on as my “get this dog adopted” project.

I was able to take Meghan out for the day yesterday.  I’m still learning how to helpfully work with shelter animals, and this was my first time taking a dog for the day.  I was a bit nervous, to say the least!  First, I let Meghan run in the shelter’s grassy pen to burn off some of her energy.  Then, it was in the car and off to the woods.  At first, she was all over the place in the car; I really could have used a helping hand to keep her seated in the back.   But we made it safely to the Duke Forest, and off we went for a two-mile hike.

I don’t think Meghan had been in the woods before.  She was very interested in her surroundings.  Though after awhile, she got nervous.  It was probably the toddler charging towards us that did it.  I told the parents that Meghan’s a shelter dog and I didn’t know how she would do with kids, so I was going to keep her away.  The family walked slowly by, but Meghan barked at them continuously.  Then the bikers scared her.   Then she barked at some random adult walkers.  I think at that point, she was on sensory overload and needed a break.  Good thing we were almost back to the car.

Next on the agenda was a visit to my house to see how she’d do inside.  Meghan walked right up the steps, walked through the front door confidently, then headed toward the kitchen, where she immediately located the cat food.  (Note to self:  puppy proof house before next visit!)  I snatched the bowl up quickly, and gave her a few puppy treats instead.    Then it was time for toys.  She jumped on the couch and proceeded to entertain herself.   Meghan really loves plush toys, so much so that she destroys them.  Here she is with a blue toy before it went to “toy heaven.”


Luckily I also brought a baseball, which caught her attention long enough so that I could take the mangled blue toy away before she ate any of the stuffing.  Meghan had fun throwing the baseball up in the air and chasing it.

Pretty soon, it was time to go to the shelter’s adoption event at PetSmart.  Yet another first for Meghan.  When we pulled up in the parking lot, she was barking at the people and the shopping carts.  Once we were in store, however, she settled down and seemed to enjoy being plied with treats every few minutes.  She is very motivated by food!  Meghan does need some work in the socialization department, though.  She scares easily, and she’s not entirely comfortable around other dogs.  She got especially upset when I shared her treats, and she tried to take another dog’s toy away.   One of the main volunteers thought she did great, though, especially considering it was her first time.

After an hour or so at PetSmart, it was time to take Meghan back to the shelter.  After having all these new experiences, I’m sure she slept well last night.     I know I did!

This was a relatively easy “new” experience for me, though I tend to get very nervous doing things I’ve never done before.  And Meghan wasn’t my dog.  And I wasn’t sure how she would react in any of the circumstances she faced.   I’d love to take her out again and help her get socialized.   And perhaps work with a few more dogs in the future.

On a personal note, I did love having a dog with whom to walk in the woods.  I have greatly missed that!   And I hope that Meghan gets a home soon.  She’s a great dog, albeit with a lot of energy, and would make a great companion.


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Here’s a short story of sweet Samantha, who had been at the shelter for a couple of months.

As you can see from the picture above, Samantha is a pretty black and brown long-haired dog. Dogs like her tend to be adopted quickly, so it was amazing to me that she had not found a home.  The volunteer coordinator surmised it was because Samantha would do best being an only dog.  Okay, I thought, surely there’s someone out there who only wants one dog?

Samantha’s kennel was near the exit where volunteers take dogs out for walks.  Every time any of us walked by, she would run the length of her kennel, looking at us as if to say “take me, too!”   And I would walk her every time I volunteered.  She was easy to walk, got a little nervous around other dogs, but one just knew that with a loving home, she’d get over her nervousness.

So here’s the great news:  Samantha finally got adopted!   And even better, I got to meet the young man who is now her proud owner.  Well, technically, his girlfriend is the owner since his landlord wouldn’t let him have a dog.  But anyway, I told him how I wasn’t supposed to get attached to the dogs, but Samantha had a piece of my heart.  (Disclaimer:  she reminds me of a mix of my dog Bailey and DaddyNell’s dog Chelsea.)  I gushed about how excited I was that he was adopting her.  I even teared up a bit.

The young man was so happy, he couldn’t contain his excitement.  Fearing she would be adopted by someone else, he rushed out of work that day to get his girlfriend to come and meet Samantha.  He had sent videos to his parents, who were charmed by her as well.  He thought she was just great and didn’t know why someone else hadn’t adopted her sooner.

“It’s because she was waiting for you,”  I said.

And I believe it. Samantha was just waiting for her perfect match, for that person who would love her as all dogs deserve to be loved.  She’s going to have a great life!  Yay for Samantha!!!

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Another of my favorite things is my cat, Patches.   But before talking about the greatness that is Patches,I’ll share a brief explanation of how I, a dog person, became the “crazy cat lady” in my neighborhood.

I moved to my current house in December 2001.  In the summer of 2002, two things happened:  I started noticing several ferals with kittens around my yard, and I adopted two dogs who thought cats were toys.  (Insert sad story here.)

Anyway, at the time, the rescue organization from which I adopted my dogs was willing to help me trap the ferals and try to find homes for them.   However, my neighbors B and T strongly resisted that idea.  Seems they wanted the cats around to kill the mice, and they fed them just enough to keep them hanging around.

However, B and T didn’t really feed the ferals enough, and they certainly didn’t attempt to spay/neuter any of them.   One of the mama cats was so starved that she jumped on the deck table while we were eating and tried to take food off our plates.  WHILE WE WERE THERE.  AND SHE WAS FERAL!!!!

That incident, plus the already alluded to problem with my dogs, led me to agree  that the cats could stay but they had to be fed properly and they had to be spayed and neutered.  NO MORE KITTENS!!!  My neighbors agreed in principle.  However, as you may guess, I was the one who ended up feeding, trapping, spaying/neutering, and attempting to socialize the cats.

So, long story short, this dog person has spent the past 12 years spaying/neutering seven cats and finding homes for seven others.  The lucky ones to find homes were not feral; rather, they were former house cats or newly born kittens who had been dumped.   The cats who were born feral ended up staying around my house, since it’s just a lot of hard work to socialize a feral, and people in the market for cats opt for ones that are already people friendly.

Those seven ferals have had a pretty sweet life: shelter in my house’s crawl space, as well as access to cat chow,  to water, to plenty of mice if they choose to hunt.  They also have a big back yard in which to roam. Unfortunately some chose to roam across the highway, and, as you may guess, that never ends well…

As of today, Patches is one of only two cats to live at my house.  (The other, Shasta, encamped late last fall and still needs to be spayed.  She’s not around on a set schedule, so I have my work cut out for me.)

Anyway, back to Patches.  He showed up at my house three years ago and decided it was going to be his home.  At the time, he had to contend with my already entrenched cat, Atticus.  The two would fight constantly.  Atticus was a much bigger, stronger cat, so Patches was much worse for wear.  But no amount of fighting would keep him away.

The two called a truce after Patches got neutered and Atticus got tired of being sprayed with the garden hose.  And now that Atticus has passed on, Patches has full run of the yard.  He is living life large.

So  now to why Patches is one of my favorite things:  (Atticus was too, but for different reasons….)

Patches emits joy. He is always happy to see me.

Patches purrs so loudly and strongly that his whole body shakes.

Patches is a talker; he just walks around and meows.  During the summer, he will sit outside my bedroom window and let me know if I’m late with breakfast.

Patches is ecstatic to be fed.  As one of my pet-sitters noted, he never misses a meal.   He doesn’t overeat, though.  He is a bit chunky now that it’s cold outside, but he’ll drop that weight once it’s warmer.

Patches will often follow me around the back yard.  He likes to be my garden buddy.

Patches is silly.  He has been known to taunt the dogs, getting close enough to them to tempt them, but not so close  as to risk his life.

Patches takes advantage of his surroundings.  He has created beds in the most unusual places:


Patches is a mouser.   Yes, I do love that about him.    I only wish he would dispose of the mice somewhere other than by the back door!

For these reasons and more, Patches is one of my favorite things.  So when the dog bites or the bee stings, I simply remember sweet little Patches, and then I don’t feel so bad.  (Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.)


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